Friday, April 25, 2014

Lexus GX 460 sport-ute is for those who want more

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – OK, I’m reviewing a Lexus vehicle for the second time in as many weeks, but lookit, put yourself in my position.

Someone walks up to you and says: “Hey, want to drive my new Lexus for a week?” … The appropriate response is not: “Oh, no thanks, I’ll stick with my 1999 pickup.”

That would be especially gauche if the offered Lexus is the seven-passenger GX 460 sport-utility vehicle.

Here’s what you need to know about the GX:  Lexus makes a very popular, sensibly-sized, comparatively low-priced RX sport-ute.  But when you opt for the GX, you’re saying that you want to step up higher on the luxury ladder, and you don’t mind paying for that.

My tester was so refined that luxury was actually part of its name – a 2014 Lexus GX 460 Luxury.  That’s the most expensive of three GX trim levels, starting at $60,715.  My ride was just slightly pricier with a addition of a kickin’ Mark Levinson primo audio system.

But you get the picture … 60-grand just to get in the door.

Once inside the door, the accommodations are outstanding.

The perks beyond the luxo norm include a heated/mahogany wood steering wheel, a rear cross traffic alert in addition to the rearview cameras and blind spot monitors, intuitive parking assist, leather all around, heated/ventilated/10-way power front seats and three-zone automatic climate control.

That’s the short list, I assure you.

It takes time to learn how to use and control all the techno-laden perks, so I advise taking the GX 460 out for a drive before diving into the Tolstoy novel-length owner’s manual.

On the fly, you’ll be treated to serene steering and an amazing level of interior cabin quietness.

You almost feel guilty speaking up – sort of like being in an old-school library – because the sound-killing technology devours most of the excess noise before it reaches the cabin.

Power comes from a 4.6-liter, 301-horsepower V-8, a sizable engine with variable valve timing.  It dishes up power smoothly, so smoothly that you can find yourself going 80 miles per hour before you realize it.

Yes, this is the downside of a quiet cabin and a smooth ride.  Well, it’s the downside if you happen to blow by the Highway Patrol at 80 mph-plus.

The big-brute power plant churns up cringe-inducing fuel mileage numbers of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.  But once again, keep the target audience of this luxury SUV in mind … The monthly gasoline bill is not likely something keeping the typical GX 460 buyer up at night.

Exterior styling is fairly conservative, but I must say the tester looked pretty imposing riding high on those 18-inch alloy wheels.

Overall, this GX 460 is top-level transportation for the economically fortunate set, and I, for one, enjoyed every minute of my week in the vehicle.

Made it pretty tough for me to go back to the ’99 pickup.

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